Alternative activation of macrophages: mechanism and functions

Immunity. 2010 May 28;32(5):593-604. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2010.05.007.


The concept of an alternative pathway of macrophage activation has stimulated interest in its definition, mechanism, and functional significance in homeostasis and disease. We assess recent research in this field, argue for a restricted definition, and explore pathways by which the T helper 2 (Th2) cell cytokines interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13 mediate their effects on macrophage cell biology, their biosynthesis, and responses to a normal and pathological microenvironment. The stage is now set to gain deeper insights into the role of alternatively activated macrophages in immunobiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Macrophage Activation / drug effects
  • Macrophage Activation / immunology*
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin / immunology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Interleukin